After 3 months of home working Ben Parsons reflects on how Covid-19 has impacted his working practices. From managing his team remotely to delivering CPD webinars to over 1000 attendees and moving to a new way of working.
How have the lockdown restrictions affected your business and the way you work?
The team at NAL had to react and adapt very quickly to the lockdown restrictions imposed. Our first priority naturally, was the safety and welfare of our staff. Those who could work from home, did so with immediate effect, ensuring minimum key members of staff were able to work safely, in the office, under social distancing guidelines. Production stopped for a short while, whilst the health and safety team put measures in place to facilitate a safe return. A normal working day for me would involve meeting customers at their premises, delivering live product demonstrations to delegates. As well as managing my team of Business Development Managers; who attend various meetings daily with our customers throughout the UK. With my team and I now working from home, we agreed we needed to adapt our existing services, to maintain relationships with our customers and in order to continue to provide solutions.
Has remote working been a logistical challenge or a refreshing change?
Refreshing in that I certainly haven’t missed my commute from Leicestershire to our offices in Worcester! Technology has enabled us to continue with staff meetings now conducted via MS Teams. If anything, the new restrictions have compelled us to modify our services in order to deliver them remotely, with particular reference to a series of CPD accredited, free to attend webinars we have produced. Response, and participation has been overwhelming and has ensured we all remain connected during this surreal period of isolation.
With the recent easing of lockdown restrictions are you taking steps towards re-opening and re-starting any projects which have been put on hold?
Prior to the restrictions imposed, we were ready to trial on site some of the new innovations we have developed. With some constraints now easing and more sites in operation, we will be looking to begin these trials within the next few weeks. So watch this space!!!
What has been the toughest part of lockdown to deal with?
Adapting to working from home has had its challenges. Trying to work with two young daughters now being home schooled and a partner embarking on various DIY projects in the background, can be distracting! Initially anxious about how much work we could physically undertake from home, coupled with concerns around motivating my team and indeed myself, when we all thrive on customer interaction, troubled me. Thankfully, these apprehensions were surmountable, due to the adaptions we have made, and we all remain extremely busy developing content and delivering a varied schedule of webinars to our customers.
Have there been any positive elements to lockdown for you? I.e. new working methods you might like to continue with or personal revelations such as enjoying a slower pace of life?
I certainly didn’t expect to identify any positives from this worrying situation we all find ourselves in, however surprisingly my answer to this is a resounding yes!! The impact of social distancing has provided us the impetus to develop and deliver our live Demonstration Days and Lunch and Learn sessions remotely. At first we were anxious as to how they would translate as we are all used to feeding off a live audience, but the response has been overwhelmingly positive. Webinars delivered are now well into double figures and with over 1000 delegates having joined us. We will be continuing to offer them, due to the convenience they afford, alongside our existing presentations long after this period of isolation becomes a distant memory.
What have you missed most during lockdown?
Definitely the variety that my position would normally afford together with face to face interaction, having always been very sociable. Insisting all staff meetings were undertaken on camera, has gone someway to combat this and lessen the impact of lockdown for me personally.
What have you not missed at all?
What has kept you sane/grounded during lockdown?
Being able to remain working throughout. I am grateful that we as a team at NAL have been able to remain busy, by reacting to our new working restrictions and adapting services accordingly. With my mind occupied and days structured around developing content and delivering our webinars, I am grateful to have retained a sense of normality throughout this juncture. I would urge you to contribute to my ongoing sanity, by joining us on one of our webinars, details of which can be found on our website – www.nal.ltd.uk